Lexus Carves Out a New Flagship Luxury Crossover with Lexus LF-1 Limitless
Like molten metal being forged into a fine Japanese sword, the lines of the Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept have the potential to shape the future of a flagship luxury crossover for Lexus.
Lexus established the luxury crossover segment two decades ago with the global debut of the RX 300 at Detroit. It remains the top-selling luxury crossover despite nearly 50 competitors that have since entered the segment.
Now, the Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept introduces a new genre of luxury vehicle: the flagship crossover. Combining high performance with unrestrained luxury, the Lexus LF-1 Limitless is a showcase of technology, innovation and the latest evolution of design at Lexus.
Limitless in its potential and possibilities, this concept caters to the diverse lifestyles of our customers. Likewise, the possibilities for powertrains are limitless. The LF-1 concept could be powered by fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, gasoline, or even all-electric. By around 2025, every Lexus model around the world will be available either as a dedicated electrified model, or have an electrified option.
The innovative spirit of the LF-1 was created at CALTY Design Research in California. The design language is rooted in the simple yet elegant design concept dubbed molten katana. This design visualization fuses the organic shapes of liquid metal with the sharp edges of a traditional Japanese sword. Imagining that shift from a smooth, flowing mass into a solid, chiseled shape formed the basis for the fluid, yet aggressive design of the LF-1 Limitless.
“This is our vision for a new kind of flagship vehicle that embraces crossover capability without giving up the performance and luxury delivered by today’s top sedans,” said Kevin Hunter, President, CALTY Design Research Inc. “The LF-1 Limitless concept incorporates imaginative technology while creating a strong emotional connection by improving the human experience for the driver and passengers.”
It starts with the right proportions. The Lexus LF-1’s exaggerated dash-to-axle ratio gives it an athletic profile that evokes classic grand touring cars rather car than an estate wagon. Combined with a cabin that sits deep within the rear-wheel drive chassis and aggressive 22 inch wheels barely contained under bulging fenders, the LF-1 has a powerful stance that conveys its performance intensions at a glance. The low roofline and elevated ride height further emphasize that this is a crossover designed for performance with practicality.
Like all current Lexus models, the spindle grille on the LF-1 is a core element to the overall design. On the LF-1 it’s been taken even further, with details that suggest the start of the spindle form at the rear of the vehicle that then continues forward toward the nose. The grille itself features a three-dimensional design with colors developed in house by CALTY. Ridges radiating away from the central emblem suggest magnetism guiding metal filings into shape. There is no chrome, as the LF-1 instead uses LED lighting around the grille that greets you on arrival.
“Lexus models such as the RX have helped drive the global popularity of the luxury SUV category. This new crossover concept captures a future that involves a high level of dynamic capability and utility matched by a more exciting, emotional design that we hope challenges expectations in the category,” said Yoshihiro Sawa, President of Lexus International.
In profile, the LF-1 has a clearly defined flow from front to rear starting with the fender line that extends from the hood all the way to the bottom of the D pillar. That line contrasts with the more complex surfaces below it like the wide, crisply creased front fender that transitions to the smooth, deeply scalloped front door. From there, the bodywork slowly builds back out again to envelope the rear wheel giving the LF-1 a coke-bottle shape evocative of classic muscle cars.
A split spoiler grabs your eye at the rear of the Lexus LF-1 roof, but there are interesting curves and details along every inch of the rear fascia. The beautifully sculpted openings at each corner might look like exhaust pipes but they are actually vents for the air coming past the rear wheels. The shoulders above those wheels provide sturdy mounts for the sculptural taillights that extend well past the metalwork. Above the lights is the huge expanse of glass that extends over the rear seats to offer an uninterrupted view of the scenery thanks to the split spoiler on each side.